The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum launched a search service to access the world’s largest closed Holocaust archive.
Survivors and others as of Thursday may request information from the massive digital archive, which was transferred to the Washington museum in November. The archives came from the International Tracing Service, based in Bad Arolsen, Germany.
Trained staff will search the archive, and will cross-reference with the museum’s own archives and material that the tracing service has yet to share with the museum. The archives relate to wartime incarceration and concentration camps; still to come is material related to forced labor and postwar documentation. All the material should be in hand by 2010, museum officials said.
The material became available after a decade-long negotiations among the 11 countries responsible for the archives. All 11 nations now have copies of the archive.
Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, launched its own search service on Wednesday.
About 800 requests have been received so far by the U.S. Holocaust museum, mostly family inquiries.
Applicants may make requests for information on the Web at www.ushmm.org/its or by calling (866) 912-4385. The museum is planning outreach programs to communities throughout the United States. More than half of the documents relate to non-Jewish persecutions.